People can sense what we really think of them. That’s one reason what we really think of others matters. In middle-school we can get away with faking it. The older we get the more adept we become at sensing what others think of us, and we tend to respond to that somehow. Some of us rebel. Some of us do whatever it takes so others like us. Others of us do what is healthier: we remain ourselves.

As a leader, it’s vital you genuinely care about those you work with. Not so they will perform better, but because it’s right. Being who we should be anyway in our view and treatment of others is likely to cultivate a healthier work climate. Again, we don’t try to value others to increase “performance.” Good leaders value people and that happens to, in general, lead to better work product. Why? Because people love to work with/for people who want to work with/for them.

The Arbinger Institute writes in their remarkable book, Leadership and Self-Deception:

“we often can sense how others are feeling toward us, can’t we? Given a little time, we can always tell when we’re being coped with, manipulated, or outsmarted. We can always detect the hypocrisy. We can always feel the blame concealed beneath veneers of niceness. And we typically resent it. In the workplace, for example, it won’t matter if the other person tries managing by walking around, sitting on the edge of the chair to practice active listening, inquiring about family members in order to show interest, or using any other skill learned in order to be more effective. What we’ll know and respond to is how that person is regarding us when doing those things.” (pp. 28-29)

Ask yourself a tough question today: Do I really love the people I work with? Or, do I try to be nice to them so they will work better?

Biblical leadership and utilitarianism are strangers.